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The Catholic Church of St. Martin in Cologne is one of the city's brightest attractions. The church is located in the Old part of Cologne, in the immediate vicinity of the Cologne Cathedral and the City Hall.
Today there are many theories about the time of the church's creation. According to one of them, the temple was created by Benedictine monks in the 8th century. However, this is a delusion. The official date of the creation of the Benedictine abbey – 953-965, which is indicated in the chronicles of a later period.
The Basilica of St. Martin was built in 1220. The Benedictine monastery had suffered from severe fires before. In 1150, the first large fire occurred. Soon it was decided to build a new church, on the site of the old monastery basilica. The construction lasted for 70 years. Upon completion of construction works, the church acquired a Romanesque look.
In the following centuries, the temple was repeatedly restored. Fires were the cause of frequent construction work. During the reconstruction, the architectural appearance of the church has undergone several changes. In the 15th century, the temple was decorated with frescoes and paintings, all this became possible thanks to donations from wealthy townspeople. In the same century, the tower was rebuilt and acquired a Gothic appearance.
At the beginning of the 18th century, the interior of the temple acquired the Baroque style. An organ was also installed in the building. For almost 100 years, the internal appearance of the church did not change until a new series of works was carried out, already with a bias towards classicism.
During the period of Napoleonic mediatization, the Church of St. Martin was closed, and the Abbey of Cologne was destroyed. The monastery was turned into an ordinary parish church, and soldiers' barracks were located in the buildings of the complex. Soon they were destroyed.
After 40 years, the authorities of Cologne decided to restore the Church of St. Martin. The restoration work began in 1861 and lasted 30 years. During the work, the church was restored to its original appearance.
During the Second World War, the church was badly damaged. At the end of the war, disputes began about the need for reconstruction of the temple. An option was proposed to leave the temple in ruins as a memorial in memory of those killed during the war. However, the government soon decided to begin the reconstruction of the church. In 1985, construction work was completed.
Until 2009, the church was used as a parish, but after the transfer of the building to the Benedictines, it again became a monastery.
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